Building a fleet of drones to deliver packages to your door in 30 minutes isn’t cheap, but one of the lesser-known costs has nothing to do with technology. It’s all about the regulations.
Amazon spent $9.44 million lobbying in Washington D.C. last year, 91 percent more than what it spent in 2014, according to numbers compiled for The Hill. The e-commerce giant increased its lobbying efforts more than any of the other top 50 lobbying organizations in the last year.
While Amazon declined to detail its advocacy efforts, the company is likely pushing hard to get its drone delivery fleet some flight clearance. While the tech may not be 100 percent finished, Amazon has already shown off a delivery completed by drone and will likely be ready to start shipping as soon as regulations are finalized.
While Amazon’s lobbying efforts are swelling quickly, it’s still far from the top lobbyist in tech. That honor goes to Google’s parent Alphabet, which spent upwards of $16 million in 2015. However, that’s about 1 percent less than it spent last year. Facebook also spent about $400,000 more than Amazon on lobbying, but increased only 5 percent over its 2014 spending.
Nor is Amazon the top Washington state company in terms of spending in the other Washington. Boeing took the top spot for corporate lobbying this year, increasing spending 30 percent to almost $22 million. That money helped it successfully keep the Import-Export Bank open, which allows it to sell more planes to international buyers. Microsoft also made the top 50, spending nearly $8.5 million on lobbying.